Just over a year ago Dan Woolley and David Hames headed to Haiti. Their goal was to shoot video and photographic footage to highlight the work that Compassion International does in Haiti. Both men were passionate about that work. What started out as a beautiful, productive day ended in unspeakable tragedy.
At 4:53pm a 7.0 earthquake shook Haiti. Dan and David had just arrived back at the Hotel Montana where they were staying. The six story structure took just seconds to collapse and bury the two deep in the rubble.
Unshaken: Rising from the Ruins of Haiti’s Hotel Montana is Dan’s story. It is an open and emotional account of the hours that Dan spent buried.
Dan lived through the quake and was able to find a safe place in the rubble to wait for rescue. There in the bowels of a hellish situation he struggled with thoughts of his own death and what had happened to David. He worried about what would happen to his wife and two young boys if he wasn’t rescued in time. And in pitch black he met the God he had worshiped for years, but had grown lukewarm in the last few years.
In the darkness he heard other survivors near him and together they encouraged each other through the direst of circumstances. A young Haitian man in an elevator shaft next to Dan was one of those survivors. Through their hours in captivity Dan led this young man to a saving relationship with Christ.
When he was rescued 65 hours later he had a head wound, a broken leg, and was dehydrated. But he was also a new man in his faith, having experienced God in a profound way. He emerged from the rubble with a renewed zest for life and for his faith.
This book is more than Dan’s story. It is also his wife Christina’s story. It brings to light Christina’s struggle early in their marriage with clinical depression. In a brave step Christina has spoken out about her life and how depression has affected her and those around her. Many consider depression a weakness and not something a Christian should have a problem with. However, clinical depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that can be treated with medication and therapy. It is not a failing of the person involved. Just as Dan met God in his darkest time, so did Christina.
Unshaken is brutally honest and at times heart wrenching. Despite knowing the outcome it had me on the edge of my seat and other times in tears. It is a story of tragic devastation and soaring hope; of life and death. More than that, it is a story of rebirth and renewal.
*Sadly, David Hames was killed instantly when the quake hit, but as a Christian we know that we will meet him again heaven.
*A portion of the proceeds of this book will go to Compassion International.